Monday, June 06, 2011

She Said What?

John Hinderaker on The Trouble With Sarah:

The problem here is not inaccuracy, but incoherence. Sarah Palin is a good writer and a good (sometimes excellent, as at the 2008 convention) deliverer of scripted speeches. But when she talks off the cuff, she is often inarticulate and sometimes, as at Old North Church, worse. If you see her on Fox News, as I do occasionally, you observe the same thing. There are way too many WTF? moments.

The power of articulation isn't everything in a candidate. I would much rather have, as president, an inarticulate conservative than a glib liberal. (Having said that, don't tell me about Dwight Eisenhower unless you can up with a clip that is remotely as confused as Palin's Boston riff.) And, to be fair, many other politicians--President Obama, for example--aren't very articulate either, when they don't have a script. But Obama isn't that bad.

So let's be real: the ability to articulate ideas is a central skill for a politician, especially a presidential candidate. Sarah Palin has many qualities that I admire, but her supporters need to acknowledge that her frequent inability to communicate effectively, when speaking impromptu, is a serious shortcoming that legitimately weighs on her standing as a potential president.

I haven't paid much attention to the latest dustup over Palin's problems with either understanding or explaining the history of Paul Revere's ride. However, I did watch her appearance on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and share John sense of disappointment with how she came off. Ever since leaving her position as governor of Alaska she's had nothing but time to prepare for just such opportunties to demonstrate a depth and understanding of issues that had previously eluded her. Any yet she shows none of that, instead repeating cliches and shop worn talking points that impress no one.

Except I guess the hardcore Palin partisans who must be so infatuated with the idea of her running for president that they don't really pay attention to what she says (or doesn't say) any more. And don't give me this "she doesn't speak the language of the Beltway" baloney either. There's nothing wrong with being plain-spoken and straight forward--especially given the empty eloquence of President Obama--but there's gotta be more to the package than just style. If Sarah Palin is serious about becoming president she needs to start speaking that way and put together a clear, coherent message.